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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 TO 2025                                          

Italian Republic (Italy)

There have been reports of excessive use of force by police, particularly against people in the country illegally. Refugees and undocumented migrants have been held in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions.  [Freedom House Country Report, 2018]

Description: Description: Description: Italy

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Italy.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

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Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 17 May 2020]


There have been reports of excessive use of force by police, particularly against people in the country illegally. Refugees and undocumented migrants have been held in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions.

In July 2017, the parliament approved a law criminalizing torture, though rights groups criticized it for defining torture narrowly and mandating a relatively short statute of limitations, which they identified as problematic in light of delays that plague the justice system.

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on Italy

Executive Summary, 21 January 2020

[accessed 31 May 2020]

Turning  to the various  forms  of  isolation  and  segregation  of  prisoners,  the  CPT considers  that the accessory punishment of court-imposed solitary confinement pursuant to Article 72 of the Criminal Code (“isolamento diurno”) is anachronistic and should be abolished. Such an additional punishment of prolonged  solitary  confinement can  have  harmful  effects  and  is  contrary  to  the  principle  of re-socialisation of prisoners, particularly as it is usually imposed several years after the commencement of imprisonment. As regards the regime of special surveillance (“sorveglianza particolare”) pursuant to Article 14-bis of the Prison Law, the Committee found that prisoners subjected to this regime were de  facto held  in  conditions  of  solitary  confinement  for  prolonged  periods.  Given  the potentially harmful effects of subjecting inmates to prolonged solitary confinement, the Committee calls upon the  authorities  to  provide  such  prisoners  with  an  appropriate  regime  (i.e.  at least  two  hours  of meaningful human contact per day).

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Italy

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 25 July 2021]


In a report on its March 2019 visit, the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) stated that at Viterbo Prison it heard a considerable number of allegations of physical mistreatment of prisoners by staff, mainly with slaps, punches, and kicks. There was a specific allegation of blows with metal cell keys on an inmate’s head. At Saluzzo Prison the CPT delegation heard additional allegations of physical mistreatment of inmates by staff consisting of punches and kicks. At Biella and Milan Opera Prisons, it received a few allegations of physical mistreatment, consisting mainly of excessive use of force by staff on inmates.

On July 22, authorities closed a police station in Piacenza and arrested 11 Carabinieri officers suspected of involvement in a criminal gang that made illegitimate arrests, tortured arrestees, trafficked narcotics, and carried out extortion from 2017 to 2020. On July 20, prosecutors in Turin opened an investigation into the director and chief of prison guards of the Turin prison for abetting the mistreatment of detainees in at least 10 cases in 2018 and 2019 and for failing to report those guards responsible to authorities.

According to the daily Domani, on April 6, approximately 300 corrections officers rounded up and beat a group of prisoners in the Santa Maria Capua Vetere prison who had protested for more masks, gloves, and sanitizer to protect against the COVID-19. According to testimony given to the nongovernmental organization (NGO) Associazione Antigone, several of the inmates were stripped naked, insulted, and beaten. Prosecutors reportedly opened investigations into 57 corrections officers for torture and abuse of power.

Legal torture in Italy condemned by Human Rights Court

Italian Insider, 26 October 2017

[accessed 27 October 2017]

The orginal case was brought against 5 prison guards who, between 2004 and 2005, had beaten and left the inmates naked in solitary confinement for days in the winter months. The Court ruled that the guards had abused authority yet, because Italy only passed laws that made torture illegal in July 2017, the physical abuse was not against the law.

Torture law aims to reinforce democracy

Redazione ANSA, Rome, 19 July 2016

[accessed 2 August 2016]

The court condemned Italy not only for what happened to the demonstrators during the infamous raid on the Diaz school, but also because it said the country lacks appropriate legislation to punish the crime of torture even though it ratified a UN convention on torture in 1989.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. A/54/44, paras. 163-169 (1999)

[accessed 1 March 2013]

4. Subjects of concern

167. Despite the efforts of the authorities, the prison system remains overcrowded and lacking in facilities which makes the overall conditions of detention not conducive to the efforts of preventing inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In this regard, the Committee notes with concern, that reports of cases of ill­treatment in prison continued and that many of them involved foreigners.

168. The Committee is also concerned over the lack of training in the field of human rights, in particular, the prohibition against torture to the troops participating in peacekeeping operations and the inadequate number of military police accompanying them, which was responsible in part for the unfortunate incidents that occurred in Somalia.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015

TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT - In October, Parliament approved the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture, but failed to introduce the crime of torture into the criminal code, as the Convention requires. No systemic measures were taken to prevent human rights violations by police, or to ensure accountability for them. Conditions of detention and the treatment of detainees in many prisons and other detention centres were inhumane and violated detainees’ rights, including to health. In April, the Senate published a report on the state of prisons and migrants’ detention centres, documenting grave overcrowding and failures to uphold respect for human dignity and other international obligations.

GENOA G8 TRIALS - On 5 July, the Supreme Court confirmed all 25 convictions issued on appeal against high-ranking officials and police officers responsible for the torture and other ill-treatment of demonstrators on 21 July 2001. Senior officials were convicted for falsifying arrest documents, and sentences ranged from five years to three years and eight months of imprisonment. However, due to a law designed to cut inmate numbers, which allows for a three-year reduction in sentences, nobody was imprisoned, although all were suspended from duty for five years. Convictions issued on appeal for grievous bodily harm against nine officers lapsed, as the statute of limitation came into effect prior to the conclusion of the appeal to the Supreme Court, which also meant they would not be suspended from duty. All the convicted officers, including those whose crimes were covered by the statute of limitations, were due to undergo disciplinary proceedings.


For current articles:: Search Amnesty International Website

[accessed 5 January 2019]

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Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 31 January 2013]

[accessed 4 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices; however, there were reports that police occasionally used excessive force against persons detained in connection with common criminal offenses or in the course of identity checks. While this behavior affected both citizens and foreigners, Roma and immigrants were at particular risk (see section 5).

In 2003 a Nigerian immigrant accused two policemen in Rome of abuse involving burns to his abdomen while in custody; the incident occurred after the immigrant had attempted to escape. The case was still under investigation at the end of the year.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, " Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Italy",, [accessed <date>]